Online gambling attracts thousands of players from Singapore and has millions of fans worldwide. Gamblers like it because it’s an entertaining and adrenaline-packed leisure activity. And while you can spend hours playing casino games, it’s important to remember gambling is about having fun. Some players forget that, which is why they might develop a gambling addiction.
Gambling addiction appears when you throw responsible play out of the window. Addicts continue gambling without worrying or noticing how it affects their finances or lives overall. Professional organizations recognize gambling disorder as a serious addiction, just like alcoholism or drug use.
Responsible gambling is a joint name for all rules and initiatives that try to reduce the frequency and severity of addiction among casino players. The idea is to raise awareness on how to prevent a disorder and offer help to those who show addiction signs. Our guide describes everything you should know about responsible gambling in Singapore. Check out its causes and phases, and learn how to prevent or help someone dealing with an addiction!
Causes and Reasons behind a Gambling Addiction
The experts didn’t exactly define why and how gambling addiction happens. However, they know that various reasons can lead to someone becoming a compulsive gambler. It’s often a mixture of two reasons. Here are the common causes why someone might be riskier to gambling problems.
Genetics and Biological Reasons
The genetic factor is often a cause of medical conditions, so why would it be different from compulsive gambling? Some experts argue that those that have “gambling” genes run a higher risk of becoming addicted. If your parents or grandparents loved gambling, the odds are higher that you will like it, too.
Other mental health conditions could increase the risk of compulsive gambling, too. It could be PTSD, ADHD, etc. A huge life change, such as learning about a serious medical condition, could also be a trigger for compulsive gambling.
Another interesting note is that gamblers don’t have control over their addiction. A scientific study proved that gambling could trigger the same brain sections as drugs or alcohol.
Medical Facts about Gambling Addiction
The statistics show young and middle-aged people are more prone to gambling addiction. Teenagers often see online casinos as a chance to try something new. It can easily become a path to compulsive gambling.
Apart from age, exposure to gambling can be a significant factor. If you see many commercials as a kid, or your friends all gamble, you run a higher risk of becoming addicted. Online casinos often have a demo or free versions of their games and tempting bonuses for new players, which is another risk factor.
Are you restless and quickly lose interest in stuff? If you get bored easily, you need high-paced action to experience fun. That’s where online casinos fit. The experts argue that some personality types run a higher risk of compulsive gambling. Those include:
- Workaholics. These often find gambling to be the perfect stress reliever.
- Competitive. You like to win, and that’s what could pursue you to keep investing more even when losing.
- Impulsive. These personalities run a higher risk of investing big in online casinos, which increases the odds of developing a gambling addiction.
Signs and Symptoms to Recognize Someone with a Gambling Problem
Understanding symptoms of compulsive gambling can be a way to stop before it gets too late. Additionally, it could assist friends and families to recognize a problem in time. Here are the common symptoms that you might be developing a gambling addiction:
- Increasing wagers significantly. In the beginning, your bet didn’t exceed $1 per round. But as time passed, you started increasing the wagers. Small bets don’t work anymore. If you want the thrill, you need to invest large sums.
- Can’t stop thinking about gambling. You might be at work on time, and you don’t miss a single friend’s birthday. But instead of actively participating in the event, you are thinking about returning home and playing slots or roulette.
- Missing important events. This is a crucial sign that indicates a gambling problem. If you missed your best friend’s birthday or marriage anniversary, and you’ve never done that before, it shows something might be wrong.
- Refusing to talk about the issue. Compulsive gamblers often refuse to admit they have a problem. And if someone asks you, you might deny it and get nervous. Perhaps you even start hiding from others that you are gambling.
- Borrowing money from friends. This usually comes with lying about why you need the cash since you are ashamed to talk about it. Debts pile up, and your finances get worse every day. In severe cases, compulsive gamblers even steal money from friends to secure funds for gambling.
- Not being able to stop playing. You said that you are only going to play for an hour. But once that expires, you keep prolonging it by one round. Before you knew it, you spent the entire night playing. Compulsive gamblers often have problems stopping, which affects sleep quality and their life overall.
Phases of Compulsive Gambling
Compulsive gambling isn’t something that happens overnight. You develop addiction over time. For some, it’s only a few weeks. Others might play regularly but get addicted after years due to going through a rough patch in their lives. According to experts, gambling addiction has four different phases that include:
- The winning phase. You might have beginner’s luck and win a decent sum. It feels great, especially if other parts of your life don’t seem that successful. Winning releases dopamine, and you feel excited and happy.
- The losing phase. This is where you enter a negative streak. Winnings don’t often happen, so you start increasing the bets. A small $1 bet doesn’t do it anymore. You need to invest at least $5 to feel the thrill and return to the winning phase. But you enter a downward spiral where you aren’t in control anymore.
- The desperation phase. Some realize they don’t have control and give up on gambling, or at least take a break. But if you are a compulsive player, you are desperate to return the debts. You continue playing to get out of a negative streak, but you already make poor moves. You start feeling anxious and stressed and often have sleep issues.
- The hopeless phase. Unfortunately, this is the worst it could happen. Depending on the compulsive gambler, it includes losing friends and family, piling debts, and hitting rock bottom overall. Many combine gambling addiction with alcohol or drugs. It’s not easy to recover from this, so you might need strong support and willpower.
Can Excessive Gambling Interest Have Negative Consequences?
Gambling addiction can affect your entire life. It’s not an exaggeration because you feel the consequences of this problem in every area. That includes the following:
- Finances. Gambling addicts often spend money planned for other things in casinos. They start by wasting their savings and gradually begin entering debt. You could lose a car or even a home, not to mention the legal and other issues if owing money to creditors.
- Work. Addicts think about what they are addicted to, which can affect the quality of the work they do. They are often late for work and lose productivity. As time passes, it can be a threat to keeping their jobs.
- Relationships. Gambling addicts often don’t give enough attention to partners, friends, and family members. Families might need to deal with abuse or domestic violence. Addicts often lose friends because they ignore them or can’t establish positive communication.
- Mental health. Many associations warn about the negative effects of gambling addiction on your mental and physical health. It could cause stress, anxiety, and even depression. As a result, your physical condition could be compromised, too.
How to Gamble Online and Stay Safe
If you want to prevent gambling addiction, it’s best to avoid putting yourself at risk. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit online casinos in Singapore. It implies you should follow certain rules that will keep you from making this activity a problem.
Check out these expert tips to assist in staying safe when gambling online:
- Stick to a trustworthy casino. Always start by picking reliable and licensed platforms. They use RNG software for all games, which means all players have equal odds of winning. Our team conducted a detailed search and found the best platforms for players in Singapore. Apart from fair play, these platforms also offer responsible gambling features to help control your playing habits.
- Focus on having fun. Online gambling is a leisure activity. While it’s adrenaline-filled, the main purpose is to have fun. It should never become a burden, and it shouldn’t be a way to earn a livelihood. So, don’t observe gaming as something that will solve your financial issues.
- Wager only funds you can lose. You should be prepared to lose any amount you decide to invest in online gambling. Think of it as a way of investing in having fun and having a good time. If you run out of the planned funds, don’t invest further to avoid potential financial issues.
- Never play when drunk or under stress. Alcohol and any other substance affect your decisions, so try to steer clear of gambling facilities. People don’t make smart decisions when drunk, so it’s best to sleep on it and play when you wake up.
- Pay attention to the clock. If you visit a gambling facility in Singapore, you’ll notice there aren’t any clocks on walls or windows. The idea is to make you forget about checking the time. With online casinos, you can look at the clock whenever you feel like it. Choose how long to play, but don’t make it “too long.” Spending too much time playing can lead to addiction.
How to Prevent Gambling Disorders?
Did you notice you spend too much time in online casinos? If you exhibit signs of going into a gambling addiction, perhaps it’s not too late. These tips can help to ensure you keep playing responsibly:
- Prevent casino advertisements from accessing you. If you signed up for online casino newsletters, unsubscribe immediately. You might follow some operators on social media, so make sure to unfollow them. The idea is to avoid something triggering you into thinking about gambling.
- Use deposit limits. It’s a convenient feature offered by online casinos. You can set a deposit restriction per day, week, or month. That way, the system will prevent you from investing more than you initially planned.
- Activate the loss limit. The biggest issue for problem gamblers is when they start losing. They tend to invest and lose more money. That’s why online casinos in Singapore also allow setting the loss limit. If you lose the specified amount, you won’t be able to bet for a certain period you chose.
- Restrict the time spent in online casinos. Internet gaming platforms can automatically log you out after a certain time. Accessing the site won’t be possible until the new chosen cycle starts. It could be a day, but also a week or month.
- Self-exclusion is your last resort. Exclusion from a particular gambling site in Singapore can help, too. Find the option in your profile and pick how long to stay blocked.
How Casinos Help to Prevent Problem Gambling
Online casinos in Singapore are trying their best to follow laws and regulations but also follow social responsibility. Unlike popular belief, gambling operators care about reputation. That’s why they join the responsible gambling trends hoping to reduce addiction problems.
Internet gaming platforms often show relevant helplines you can contact if you have a gambling issue in the footer of every page. Most casinos have a page dedicated to responsible gambling.
Players will also find mechanisms that help control how they gamble. You can pick a deposit limit to avoid investing more than you intended. It’s possible to restrict a single bet value but also temporarily exclude yourself from the website. The self-exclusion measure is great if you want to take a break from gambling.
While it’s not a common practice, some online casinos donate a portion of their profits to responsible gambling programs. They also listen to guidelines issued by authorities when it comes to advertising to help keep kids unexposed to those commercials.
Protecting Children from Gambling Addiction
Parents try hard to keep kids out of fights and focus on keeping them far from drugs and alcohol. However, gambling often goes down the radar as a potential problem.
An average teenager might watch a gambling ad on TV or the internet. It inspires them to try online gaming, even if it’s only for fun. But children and young adults are at a huge risk for developing addictions. That’s why they could become addicted to gambling before anyone even notices.
Underage gambling is illegal in Singapore. Most online casinos require an identity verification check. However, there are ways how parents can protect children and keep them away from internet gambling. Check out the following tips to apply:
- Never let them see you are playing. You should never gamble when your children are around. They might develop an interest in what you are doing and try those websites themselves.
- Keep your credit cards and other financial info away from kids. It makes it tougher to find a way to deposit to online casinos, which could discourage children from gambling.
- Install protective software on your PC. CyberPatrol is an excellent idea to keep your children safe. You can put gambling sites on a blocked list and ensure your children can’t access them. You can use the same for any other site you don’t want the kids to visit.
- Talk to your children. If you see them develop an interest in gambling or notice they play online, don’t avoid the topic. Explain the downsides and how it should be a fun activity first.
Where Can I Get Help in Singapore?
Many online gaming sites offer responsible gaming features to their players. However, you might recognize that you need professional help. That’s a huge step if you recognize that you are facing a problem. It’s more common for a family member or friend to recognize an addict.
Whether it’s you or someone else that shows the signs of gambling addictions, there are organizations in Singapore that could help. We conducted extensive research, and here are some facilities you can turn to when you need assistance!
|Source: ncpg.org.sg||National Council on Problem Gambling
The National Council gathers 17 specialists in various areas. They form a body that oversees all gambling facilities in Singapore. You can call their helpline, but also use online chat to talk about your or the addiction of someone you know. NCPG also oversees self-exclusion and other measures applicable in land-based casinos in Singapore.
|The National Addictions Management Service
The Ministry of Health supports NAMS in its intentions to help people with different addictions. The team gathers professionals in multiple disciplines. It offers group and family therapy, as well as individual counselling. NAMS focuses on providing top-quality and affordable care to problem gamblers.
Contact: 6732 6837
|Credit Counselling Services
Credit Counselling Services is a registered charity that helped more than 35,000 people deal with debt. CCS originated in 2004 and has been dedicated to its visitors from day one. You can request financial counselling sessions and visit workshops and seminars to expand your knowledge on getting out of debt.
Contact: 6225 5227
We Care is a recovery centre focusing on addictions like gambling, shoplifting, and problematic internet use. They work five days a week and offer group therapies and counselling. Family members of problem gamblers can also turn for help on how to manage the issue. The organization is funded by charity.
Contact: 3165 8017
Arise2Care is a hospitable centre offering recovery programs that help problem gamblers deal with their issues. The facility offers a 10-step gambling rehab workshop that involves interactive sessions where you learn how to overcome gambling addiction and problems related to it. One-to-one counselling and house visits are also available.
Contact: 6909 0628
|Gamblers Anonymous Singapore
Gamblers Anonymous is an international fellowship of problem gamblers. It originated in 1957 as an idea to help addicts by meeting regularly and sharing their experiences. Today, there are GA groups in over 50 countries. Weekly meetings are available in Singapore on Monday, and you can find helpful resources on the GA website.
Contact: (909) 931-9056
|The Cabin Singapore
The Cabin is an all-around addiction centre available in Singapore. It gathers a team of addiction specialists and psychologists to help you deal with problem gambling. The rehab setting is confidential and private, which allows patients to focus on recovery.
Contact: 3158 7621
Organizations That Will Help You with Paying the Debt
Financial debt is a common problem that comes with gambling addiction. If you failed to play responsibly, you might have spent more than what was advisable. The first step is to assess your current debt to the smallest detail. If a loan shark or a moneylender harasses you, don’t hesitate to contact the Neighborhood Police Center. In Singapore, the number for urgent calls is 999.
If you are in debt, here are the steps you can take:
- Apply for a loan. You should only stick to licensed moneylenders. Check the list on the government site to ensure your lender is on it. If not, you should steer clear of them since they might be a money sharks.
- Negotiate with your creditors. You can discuss with the people who loaned you the money about the repayment terms. Try to negotiate a potential discount, reasonable instalment, or a time extension to avoid huge interest rates. If necessary, contact an account or legal professional to handle the negotiations.
- Discuss a debt repayment scheme. You can use Credit Counseling Services to help you design a repayment plan. Alternatively, there’s a Debt Repayment Scheme you can use to avoid bankruptcy. Singapore Insolvency Office administers this instalment scheme that can last up to five years. The conditions include debts under $100K, but also that you are an employee with a stable income.
- Bankruptcy. It’s the last resort you should take, but it’s an option available via the Insolvency Office. Bankruptcy doesn’t mean you won’t have to pay your debts. Furthermore, you could face other restrictions. That includes not being able to travel out of the country if you don’t get the approval of the authorities.